MacBook Pro w/ Retina Owners Limited to Safari: There’s No Browser Like Chrome

Apple forces early MacBook Pro with Retina Display users to use its Safari web browser. Apple’s latest MacBook comes with a gorgeous display, but third-party browsers aren’t optimized for it yet, which means they’re pretty much unusable.

Being forced to use Safari on a MacBook Pro with Retina Display may sound like a ‘First World Problem,” but not being able to run your preferred browser on a machine that costs $2,199 to $3,749 is going to tick a lot of people off.

The New MacBook Pro with Retina Display

(Read: MacBook Pro with Retina Display Review: First Impressions)


The latest MacBook Pro features a Retina Display with an eye-popping resolution of 2,880 x 1,800 pixels. That’s double the previous MacBook Pros’ standard display resolution.

By default, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display is set to display text and graphics at the same size as the previous 15″ MacBook Pro. In other words, you don’t actually get to cram 2,880 x 1,800 pixels worth of content onto the new MacBook Pro’s display. Instead, Apple’s quadrupled the pixel density to make text and graphics appear incredibly sharp.

Users can adjust display the MacBook Pro with Retina Display to resolutions of up to 1,920 x 1,050 pixels, which is the same as what you’ll find on the 21.5″ iMac. This means users can see more on the display, but text isn’t as crisp. Apple suggests leaving the display at its default settings, labeled as “Best for Retina Display,” in System Preferences.


Apple's Retina Display Settings

Apple’s Safari browser, OS X and iLife applications all look fantastic on the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. However things are much different when using Google Chrome, which is my preferred browser. Text is so blurry and unreadable that it’s impossible for me to use Chrome on the MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

Why does this matter? Web browsers are many users’ most important application. While Safari has its merits, I feel most at home using Chrome. I’ve set up Chrome Sync so I have a consistent browsing experience across all of my devices. I enjoy a number of Chrome extensions, including many that save me several hours per week. Chrome seems to work better than Safari with Google services, such as Google Docs. As I use the MacBook Pro with Retina Display as my primary machine as I review it, I feel lost without Chrome. It isn’t a perfect browser, but it’s home.

Unfortunately I won’t feel at home on the MacBook Pro with Retina Display until I get to use Chrome. As of now, there’s no telling when Google will update its browser to work properly with Apple’s latest machine. The update can’t come soon enough, but it may be a while since there are very few MacBook Pros with the new displays out in the wild.  Google employees are issued their choice of Lenovo ThinkPads and MacBooks. Perhaps we’ll have to wait until Google’s own employees start getting them instead of the older MacBook Pros.


Apple unveiled the MacBook Pro with Retina Display at WWDC 2012, where it first showed the above promo video.